Five points on Borussia Dortmund - with Steffen Freund
Tue 12 September 2017, 17:35|Tottenham Hotspur
Steffen Freund gave everything for Spurs after winning the lot as part of Borussia Dortmund's all-conquering team of the mid-1990s. A Hall of Famer, Steffen admits his first thought was 'oh no' when the two footballing loves of his life were drawn together in the Champions League. Here's what he had to say on Dortmund before Wednesday night's Group H opener...
- BSG Stahl Brandenburg, later BSV Stahl Brandenburg, 1988-91 then FC Schalke 04
- Moved to Borussia Dortmund, 1993-4
- Bundesliga champions 1995, 1996, Champions League winner 1997, World Cup Club winner 1997
- Joined Spurs in January 1999
- Won the League Cup within two months of joining us and went on to play 131 times until departing in 2003
- Ended career in 2004 after short spells at Kaiserslautern and Leicester City
- Capped 21 times by Germany, Euro 96 winner - although injured knee ligaments in semi-final win against England
- Coached Germany Under-17s and Under-20s, Nigeria (alongside Berti Vogts) and back at Spurs 2012-14
- Now a regular pundit on German TV and BT Sport
- Inducted into our Hall of Fame, December 2009
Below: Steffen in action for Borussia Dortmund in 1995
How would you sum up your time at Borussia Dortmund?
Steffen: “For a start, we were successful and silverware means everything. We were always in the top eight of the Bundesliga, so in the Champions League or the UEFA Cup, two-times Bundesliga champions, Champions League winners and World Club Cup winners and to be part of that makes you very proud. It shows how strong Borussia Dortmund were in the 1990s. It’s a massive club, just like Tottenham.”
Below: Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
What is Dortmund's standing in Germany? Are they a popular club?
Steffen: “I think most people like Dortmund. It’s one of the biggest teams in Germany, over 80,000 supporters every game and they have a lot of support in Germany and across Europe. Overall, they have been number two behind Bayern Munich for years now and that’s why a lot of people hope they are strong, so there is an opponent for Bayern Munich. There is a lot of support from neutrals.”
Below: Dortmund manager Peter Bosz
Tell us about the Dortmund team of today under new manager Peter Bosz...
Steffen: "They are top of the Bundesliga at the moment. They won 3-0 at Wolfsburg, 2-0 against Hertha Berlin and now drew 0-0 against Freiburg (on Saturday). Peter Bosz is playing a 4-3-3 system. He’s the former Ajax coach who took their young team to the Europa League final last season. He doesn’t change the system a lot, so you know how they will play, but it’s difficult to stop them because they are so good! It’s early in the season though and you’d almost expect those results. The first really big game for Peter Bosz and Dortmund is this game against Spurs – then we’ll know where they really are.”
Below: Mario Gotze
Dortmund have a strong squad and so many well-known players - who would you pick out as the key men?
Steffen: “The player I really like is injured, and that’s Marco Reus. He can turn games all the time, score, make an assist. I watched the last few games and it’s important to mention that Mario Gotze is back, he’s been out for a long time and he’s one of the biggest talents in that position. He can create, keep the ball...he never loses the ball. There is a lot of quality in midfield and up front, like Christian Pulisic, he’s a young player from America and I'm sure you all know about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is the top scorer in the Bundesliga, like Harry Kane.”
Below: Steffen in action for Germany, Spurs and pictured recently
Finally Steffen, how did you feel when your two clubs were drawn against either in the Champions League?
Steffen: "My first reaction was ‘oh no, one team has to lose’ and it was the same when the teams met in the Europa League (in 2016). Now it’s the group stage and anything can happen but with Real Madrid in the group as well, these matches are vital. Could both get through? It’s difficult to say. You know me, I’m honest. I was in Cardiff to watch Real Madrid beat Juventus in last season’s final - I met Ledley King there! - and I saw a really strong team that night. Don’t forget, Dortmund and Real Madrid were in the same group last season and Dortmund topped the group. They drew twice. Everything is possible, but I think Real Madrid are the best club side in the world at the moment - and that’s how important the games between Dortmund and Spurs are. Dortmund have quick strikers in Aubameyang and Pulisic and they will be dangerous if they are given space. Of course, we all know what Spurs can do as well. I can’t wait to watch it. Both teams will go for it, I’m sure."